Finance staff get salary rise but real value falls

Finance staff saw their basic salaries increase by an average of 4.7% in 2008, but experienced a fall in the real value of their pay packets, according to research.


The Salary Survey of Financial Staff, by XpertHR Job Pricing – powered by Personnel Today’s sister company, salary survey specialist Celre – showed that basic salaries for finance staff increased by an average 4.7% over the 12 months to September 2008, and total earnings (including basic pay and bonuses) increased by 4.3%.


While this figure is up on that of 2007 – when total earnings for finance staff increased by 4% – it still lags behind the increase in inflation as measured by the Retail Price Index over the same period. This means that many finance staff actually saw the real value of their pay packets decrease.


The survey of 89 companies, covering 7,039 workers, found that movement in basic salaries for finance staff fell from 5.3% in 2007 to 4.7% in 2008. It also showed that the movement in their total earnings (basic salary plus bonuses) had also fallen from 6.6% in 2007, to 4.3% in 2008.


This means that the median basic salary of a financial director in 2008 stood at £132,997, with median total earnings of £165,976. Function heads received median basic salaries of £78,100, and median total earnings of £87,638.


At the other end of the scale, junior accountants received median basic salaries of £21,038 in 2008, and median total earnings of £22,141. And clerical staff received median basic salaries of £16,513, and median total earnings of £17,220.


Some of the largest salary increases in 2008 were awarded to staff working in purchasing/procurement (7.2%), and treasury management (6.2%).


The smallest increases went to staff involved in compliance (2.9%) and cost accounting (3.3%).


Despite being conducted too early to have registered the effects of the economic downturn, the findings still revealed indications of a slowdown in the sector.


For example, the resignation rate among finance staff has fallen from 5.9% in 2007 to 3.9% in 2008. The number of employers that reported recruitment problems in finance also fell from 75% in 2007 to 70.8% last year. And employers predicted a median pay increase for finance staff of just 3.5% at their next review.

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